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Four quick and easy midweek meal ideas

Super Geen Lupin Pasta
We’ve all had it. That sinking feeling as you walk in the door from work, dump the keys on the bench and open the fridge door, and then the pantry. What on earth am I going to cook for dinner? 

Somehow hump days are the hardest. We’ve already eaten the leftovers from the weekend and scraped something together for Tuesday night, but what about Wednesday? Here are some quick and easy ideas to smooth the midweek bumps.

Egg-cellent options

If you have a carton of eggs in the fridge, you always have a quick and nutritious meal at hand. Whisk a couple together with a dash of milk or cream, season with salt and pepper, add fresh herbs, sliced spring onions and/or parmesan. Heat a little butter or olive oil in a frying pan and stir the egg mixture until it just sets and hey, presto, it’s dinner (with or without toast). Another easy but egg-cellent option is to stir fry a bunch of broccolini in olive oil with some chopped garlic and a few tablespoons of pine nuts and pepitas. Top with a fried egg (or poached, if you prefer) and sprinkle with sea salt. For eggs with a little heat, try this scrumptious shakshuka.

It’s hard enough thinking about what to cook for yourself, let alone the whole family. That’s why tacos or tortillas were invented (well, it could have been). Whether you prefer hard shells or soft like La Tortilla’s authentic corn tortillas, meat or vegetarian fillings, they are a surefire way to please everyone. We love Anna Gare’s simple beef tacos with hot green sauce (even the sauce only takes a minute to blitz in the blender). Just pop everything in the middle and let everyone help themselves.

Homemade pizza

Keep a couple of stone-baked pizza bases in the freezer and you can whip up dinner in a flash. Some pita bread also works well as a base. The best thing about this midweek meal is you can spread the pizza with tomato paste and top it with whatever takes your fancy. A tin of tuna, some chilli flakes, and fresh parsley or coriander. Sliced salami, bacon, tomatoes and mozzarella or grated cheddar (and, yes, tinned pineapple if you must). A few fresh fungi from the Mushroom Guys and some bocconcini or goat’s cheese, topped with fresh basil. Drizzle with olive oil and pop in the oven for 10 minutes or until crispy.

Pasta, pronto

This Italian staple has become an Australian favourite for good reason. It’s super quick to cook and pairs with just about anything – from sliced chicken and cherry tomatoes to tinned tuna, sliced mushrooms and cream. Fresh pasta only takes three to four minutes to cook in boiling salted water, while dried pasta takes eight to 10. Fry some chopped bacon or salami in a little olive oil. Add a couple of finely chopped garlic cloves and a head of broccoli broken into small florets. Season with black pepper and a bit of chilli if you like some heat. Serve tossed through the warm pasta with a splash more olive oil and some toasted pine nuts. For those who can’t tolerate gluten, Kate Flower’s super green lupin pasta is super delicious and super quick.

Curry favour

Yes, we know curries can take forever, particularly if you’re making the paste from scratch. But midweek is all about making life easier, so reach for that jar of Thai green curry paste or butter chicken curry paste without a second’s thought. Turban Chopsticks makes their pastes from local, natural ingredients so you have the satisfaction of knowing you haven’t settled for less just because you’ve chosen a quicker route to dinner. Follow the instructions on the label, add your protein of choice, and top with fresh herbs.

Essential ingredients

Eggs aren’t the only staples to keep at hand – and keep away the midweek blues. Make sure your pantry always has some rice, pasta, legumes, tinned tomatoes and tuna, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions and garlic. And don’t forget some good quality vinegar and olive oil (try Jingilli EVOO or Sathya Olive Company). In the fridge, keep butter, milk, eggs, yoghurt and a selection of cheese from the likes of Dellendale Creamery and Halls Family Dairy. And plenty of fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables, of course. (When you want to use up some vegies in a hurry, chop them up into bite-size pieces, cook in olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat til soft and then cover with four to six eggs, well beaten and seasoned. Add any fresh herbs to hand and a bit of grated cheese and, once set, toast the top under the grill.) It’s also a good idea to keep ready-made pastry (try Empire Pastry), pizza bases and frozen vegies in the freezer for last-minute meal ideas.

Follow these simple tips and you’ll always find something to throw together in no time. A simple stirfry of vegies with garlic and chilli, perhaps? Or goat’s cheese, spinach and sliced roasted sweet potato tossed through a tin of drained chickpeas? Dinner in less than half an hour and not a takeaway outlet in sight